Osteocytes regulate primary lymphoid organs and fat metabolism

Mari Sato, Noboru Asada, Yuko Kawano, Kanako Wakahashi, Kentaro Minagawa, Hiroki Kawano, Akiko Sada, Kyoji Ikeda, Toshimitsu Matsui, Yoshio Katayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Osteocytes act as mechanosensors to control local bone volume. However, their roles in the homeostasis of remote organs are largely unknown. We show that ablation of osteocytes in mice (osteocyte-less [OL] mice) leads to severe lymphopenia, due to lack of lymphoid-supporting stroma in both the bone marrow and thymus, and complete loss of white adipose tissues. These effects were reversed when osteocytes were replenished within the bone. In contrast, neither in vivo supply of T cell progenitors and humoral factors via shared circulation with a normal parabiotic partner nor ablation of specific hypothalamic nuclei rescued thymic atrophy and fat loss in OL mice. Furthermore, ablation of the hypothalamus in OL mice led to hepatic steatosis, which was rescued by parabiosis with normal mice. Our results define a role for osteocytes as critical regulators of lymphopoiesis and fat metabolism and suggest that bone acts as a central regulator of multiple organs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-758
Number of pages10
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 5 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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